O Zion, Haste
The following is an excerpt (pp 172-174) from the history of the association published in 1978.
AGAIN SEEKING A COLLEGE
Interest in a Baptist school in Dallas seemed to subside until after World War II. In the meantime, the association contented itself with support of two nearby institutions. Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth began to supply a stream of preachers for county churches. In fact, Missionary Hillsman reported going to the campus regularly to meet with Dallas student pastors. The association also resigned itself to supporting Baylor University in Waco. In 1931 it was reported that representatives of Baylor showed "moving pictures of Baylor College," perhaps the first time such visual aids were seen in an association meeting.
As the association recovered from the war years and began to expand in many directions, talk about a Dallas college again surfaced. Dr. Fred White remembered Brownlow Hastings as one of the first ardent supporters of such an enterprise in the early fifties. Several surveys of the area indicated that few Baptists went out of the county to school, and thousands attended schools in the area. Every statistic and fact supported the premise that the Dallas area was ripe for a Baptist school.
The beginnings of the effort that finally brought Dallas Baptist College to a reality can be traced to the already mentioned committee on future planning appointed by the executive board of the association in early 1954. A subcommittee composed of C. B. Hastings, chairman, Bert Mattingly, Dr. Taylor Pickett, W. H. Souther, Neal Jones, and Wallace Bassett was asked to investigate the school matter. At the annual meeting the messengers adopted a report that called for the study of the possibility of establishing a two year commuter college in Dallas. From this point on, various leaders and committees were constantly active in clarifying and solving the many problems and obstacles that arose and culminated in the coming of Decatur Baptist College to Dallas eleven years later.
Baylor Extension, as it was commonly called, was the first tangible effort in many years to offer college courses in the county under Baptist auspices. From the time it opened in the fall of 1955 until Dallas Baptist College assumed responsibility for the program ten years later, Baylor Extension served 2,827 students with 188 classes of college level Biblical studies, all giving credit at Baylor University.
Baylor Extension grew out of a grass roots desire for Christian education on the part of lay leaders who desired more and deeper Bible study. The phenomenal success of the adult sections of the group training schools revealed an interest. Those enrolled kept asking for more. What about something every night during the week, like a college course?
After considering the state scene, the subcommittee on future planning for Christian education decided that it might be a few years before it could successfully launch a full fledged Baptist college, but felt the people needed something immediately. Howard College of Birmingham had pioneered a successful statewide off campus program in 1947. Why couldn't Baylor, with all its resources, do the same thing for Dallas, long a strong Baylor support area? Many even then ventured to believe Baylor might establish a two year junior college in Dallas to feed its major university in Waco, and perhaps even move its business school to dynamic Dallas. Dallas Baptists had dreamed these kinds of dreams before, and again found them illusionary.
Baylor President W. R. White was interested in pursuing the extension idea, and in April, 1955, the association agreed to support and encourage such a program. As this activity was not in the budget, an appeal to the churches produced pledges of $500 per month, with the association agreeing to make up any difference in cost above the $6 per quarter hour tuition income.
C. B. Hastings, then chaplain and dean of Bible at Buckner Orphans' Home, was selected as general director. Three center directors were recommended by the committee and appointed by Baylor: C. E. Colton, North Temple; Fred White, Carrollton; and Henry Kindeade, Irving.
The fall term began successfully September 1, with 295 students enrolled in sixteen courses, representing 93 of the 172 churches of the association. Classes were held at Cliff Temple, First, East Grand, and Baylor Dental College once a week for a fifteen week term. The next year additional centers were opened at First, Garland, and First, Irving. Bert Mattingly and then Earl Johnston followed Hastings as chairmen of the Christian Education Committee.
When Hastings, in a real sense the father of the program, resigned in 1960 to accept the position as minister of education at Park Cities Baptist Church, the committee directed the last five years of the work. In addition to the director, the only full time employees were Dorothy McGuire, who served five years as secretary, and Alice Davidson, who succeeded her.
The program got off to an unusually successful start under Hastings' leadership. It sought to provide any courses that would support pastors and lay leaders in their church ministries. It trained literacy tutors, chalk artists, provided a primer method of teaching Greek developed by Hastings, and pioneered courses in hermeneutics and Christology for undergraduate students. However, the most popular courses from year to year were the Bible studies which were strongly supported by adult Sunday School teachers.
As the years passed, financial difficulties and the imminent opening of Dallas Baptist College led to some curtailment of the offerings. However, the program closed on a triumphant note as Dallas Baptist College agreed to accept the responsibility of offering similar courses. As C. B. Hastings reflected, "Baylor extension students found inspiration and discipline to go on to full education in Baptist colleges and seminaries. Many became master teachers of Sunday School teachers in their local churches. Above all else the joy of experiencing the Word of God at the fullest possible level more than repaid the earnest adult Christian for his dedication. Surely Baptists can still learn from Dallas Association's ten year ministry the high value of adult Christian education."
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Last Updated: Jan 3, 2007